[Press Release, March 20, 2019]
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock today announced the program for the 2019 edition of International Jazz Day, which will be launched in Australia and celebrated in more than 190 countries around the world. On April 29-30 a wide range of jazz performances, education programs, and community service initiatives will be presented in partnership with the Melbourne Conservatorium, featuring more than a dozen celebrated jazz masters. The events on International Jazz Day itself (April 30) will culminate in an All-Star Global Concert at the Melbourne Arts Centre’s renowned Hamer Hall. It will be webcast via YouTube, Facebook, the United Nations, and UNESCO to millions of viewers worldwide.
Iconic jazz pianist Herbie Hancock (USA) and acclaimed trumpeter James Morrison (Australia) will serve as artistic co-directors of the All-Star Global Concert, and John Beasley (USA) will serve as the evening’s musical director. The concert will feature performances by an international roster of artists from more than a dozen countries. Confirmed artists include: Cieavash Arian (Iran), William Barton (Australia), Dee Dee Bridgewater (USA), Till Brönner (Germany), A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russian Federation), Eli Degibri (Israel), Kurt Elling (USA), Matthew Jodrell (Australia), Ledisi (USA), Eijiro Nakagawa (Japan), Mark Nightingale (United Kingdom), Chico Pinheiro (Brazil), Tineke Postma (Netherlands), Eric Reed (USA), Antonio Sánchez (Mexico), Nathan Schreiber (Australia), Somi (USA), Lizz Wright (USA), and Tarek Yamani (Lebanon). More artists are expected to be announced.
A series of jazz performances and outreach programs will also take place in Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Sydney, Perth, and other Australian cities. In the week prior to International Jazz Day, the celebration will kick off with a jazz education program for student musicians in the indigenous community of Yarrabah in Far Northern Australia, to be followed by similar programs in Sydney for students from New South Wales public schools. Australia’s International Jazz Day celebrations will conclude with the “Generations in Jazz” youth festival in Mount Gambier, South Australia, led by James Morrison and Kurt Elling, during the first weekend of May. With the participation of more than 6,000 high school student musicians, it will the largest youth jazz festival in the world.
Thousands of other programs all over the world will celebrate jazz as a universal language of peace, including jazz-themed films, lectures, book readings, theatre performances, and panel discussions, as well as jam sessions, master classes, and radio and television broadcasts. As in previous years, a majority of International Jazz Day partner activities will focus on education and community impact, benefitting millions of students, academics, professional musicians, and music lovers everywhere.
Established by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2011 at the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, and recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, International Jazz Day brings together countries and communities worldwide every April 30th to celebrate the art of jazz, highlighting its important role in encouraging dialogue, combating discrimination, and promoting human dignity. The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is UNESCO’s official partner in the organization and promotion of International Jazz Day.